Our View: Administration owns Obamacare

Monday , August 19, 2013 - 10:34 AM

Editorial Board

The Affordable Care Act, perhaps better known as Obamacare, has the potential to do a lot of good. If more Americans can get access to health care, that’s a good thing. If more Americans are paying for health insurance, it may lead to lower premiums. However, with about seven weeks until state insurance marketplaces are slated to begin, we’re uneasy with the new law. A few key components of the law have been postponed, due diligence for the marketplaces seems shaky, and even Congress has managed to bail out of part of Obamacare.

Obamacare was passed about three and one-half years ago. Enough time has passed to have it ready. The Obama administration, as well as Democrats in Congress, own it. If it proves to be a success, the administration gets the credit. If its implementation, and the aftermath, is not a success, it won’t be the fault of Republicans, the Tea Party, The Koch Brothers, or Mrs. O’Leary’s cow. It will be the fault of the Obama administration.

As mentioned, we are concerned with the administration’s track record so far in getting the new health care law going. The employer mandate has been postponed for a year. Out-of-pocket spending caps, long trumpeted by President Barack Obama as a key consumer protection in the law, has been scrapped for a year. Due diligence systems testing for the state marketplaces, as well as training for personnel, is far behind schedule.

The extremely important data hub, which is supposed to connect the state marketplaces with federal databases, is slated for final approval on Sept. 30, a day before the 34 marketplaces are supposed to open. Another concern is the feds’ inability to insure that persons using the marketplaces really qualify for insurance subsidies. And, there’s the many waivers given to Congress and other organizations.

Obamacare is a very complicated piece of legislation that affects virtually every American. No one expects excellence when the marketplaces are unveiled. But competence is expected. No excuses are valid if the administration handles the implementation incompetently. It’s been a long time since Obamacare was signed into law; excuses should not be tolerated.

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